Thursday, 19 October 2023
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
14. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her Department has conducted any analysis of the potential impacts of the construction of the Boyne Greenway on tourism in County Meath. [44818/23]
The development of the Boyne Greenway comes under the remit of my colleague Minister Eamon Ryan, Minister for Transport. I am informed that €100,000 has been allocated this year to the development of this route via Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII). The planning, design and construction of this Greenway is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland, in conjunction with Meath County Council, and I would like to acknowledge your support for the development of this key project.
I have been advised by Fáilte Ireland that while they have not yet conducted any analysis of the potential impact of the Boyne Valley Greenway on tourism in County Meath, given the success of other greenways they are of the view that it is an exciting prospect for the Boyne Valley in the coming years. Fáilte Ireland will continue to work with the implementation partners to ensure an immersive compelling experience is implemented. There is potential to work with Meath County Council on an Interpretation Plan for the Boyne Valley Greenway once a route is selected and has passed through the consenting phase .
As the Deputy may be aware, from a general tourism perspective, the ‘Ancient’ Destination Experience Development Plan (DEDP) was launched in May 2021 and has already made progress on several key projects called out in the plan. It has brought together the public and private sector in a collaborative and progressive framework, with the aim of spreading visitors right across counties Meath and Louth.
It is designed to be a roadmap for enhancing the existing 'Ancient' visitor proposition to achieve the objectives of addressing seasonality, increasing visitor numbers, improving dwell time and visitor dispersion across the destination.
Fáilte Ireland will continue to work closely with all strategic partners such as Meath and Louth County Councils, the Office of Public Works, and hospitality and tourism industry to achieve its objectives of increasing visitor numbers and revenue to the Boyne Valley region.
I am fully aware of the importance of the tourism sector to communities in every part of the country and that is something that I know is shared by Fáilte Ireland.
With that in mind, my Department is working on the development of a new national tourism policy that will seek to mainstream sustainability, whether environmental, societal or economic. This new tourism policy will seek to support sustainable development in communities throughout the country, whilst protecting our environment and natural resources, and with a greater spread of demand across the year. This will be of particular importance for the regions.